Happiness as Income

From Weekly I/O#45

Bill Campbell defines his income as others' happiness and success instead of just money received. We can redefine our measurement of happiness by adding different sources of income other than only monetary ones.

Podcast: Eric Schmidt — Lessons from a Trillion-Dollar Coach

Bill Campbell is a legendary figure that was a former football player and coach and then turned into arguably the most successful business coach of all time. Bill mentored leaders like Steve Jobs, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Eric Schmidt, Sundar Pichai, Jeff Bezos, Jack Dorsey, and many others.

In the podcast Tim Ferriss interviewing Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, Eric talked about how Bill did all his coaching for free. In Bill's words, "I don't take cash, I don't take stock, and I don't take shit".

Bill was very motivated about the happiness and success of people. That was his income. Others' happiness is his source of income, and he was happiest when his friend and coachee were winning.

I found his philosophy beautiful. In finance, we know diversifying our asset management portfolio can reduce risk, like having a free lunch. Nevertheless, it feels like Bill takes this even further to have a different source of "income" other than just the monetary one. If we think this way, things like treating a meal to people you care about, as Bill always did, will naturally be less about the figure on the check but the smile we all share.

Another story mentioned in the book Trillion Dollar Coach demonstrates how this even applies to people he barely knows.

Bill always buy super bowl tickets for all his friend to gather together. A year when Bill had extra tickets for the super bowl due to friends' last-minute cancelation, he gave the servers from the restaurant where he had dinner the night before to join them at the game. It might be easy for a rich guy to do that. However, Bill was that way well before he was rich. He had a generous spirit, which anyone can afford.

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